2014 will no doubt arrive in the blink of an eye and it’ll be time again for that most glorious of sporting events. And with rocketing temperatures, minimal living costs and the nearby Copacabana beach boasting hot latina girls wearing next to nothing, what better venue for the World Cup than Rio’s towering Estádio do Maracanã?
Legendary football manager Bill Shankly is incessantly quoted as saying football is more important than matters of life or death – if only the soon-to-be-ex-residents of Rio’s favelas were in the position to be able to take such a shitty attitude towards what is, after all, just a game. But for the sake of a game, it seems, the government has been bulldozing such areas and forcing out their long-standing residents in favour of, amongst other things, car parks.
It is a move that is anticipated to be replicated in several Brazilian cities, and already has alarm bells ringing for Amnesty International, who are currently meeting with activists in Rio. The effects will be devastating for the hundreds of thousands across the country who will be affected For years families have worked hard on building the community in such favelas, and in the space of days have watched them crumble for the sake of football and the Olympic games.
Current campaigning efforts by residents protesting the illegal forced evictions are as of yet making little progress: it seems that for now the children and elderly waiting to be rehoused will have to put up with the rats and whatever else the desiccated area is attracting. Hopefully this will change with added pressure from high profile groups like Amnesty.
I’m not suggesting we fly out to Rio and form a human chain, but it should be food for thought. Most of us care to at least to some extent whether our clothes and food are produced in an ethical manner, and in an age of increasing moral consciousness, perhaps some consideration here wouldn’t put us out all too much.